Ann M. Ryan

— Ann M. Ryan

REIDSVILLE — Ann M. Ryan was a kind-hearted, generous woman who made everyone who came to her home feel welcome, said her daughter, Victoria Bastian. “She welcomed them with open arms,” Ms. Bastian said.

Mrs. Ryan died on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. She was 93. 

She was born in Albany on April 19, 1926 to Frank Schaffer and Elizabeth (née Sweet) Schaffer. 

Mr. Schaffer was a delivery man for National Biscuit Company, Ms. Bastian said, while Mrs. Schaffer was a homemaker, who also ran the family’s mini-farm. 

Before the family settled on “the Hill,” Ms. Bastian said, her mother’s father “loved to move,” which he and the family would do every three to four years. The family would pack up and move to a new area while the children had to start in a new school, she said.  “And I think that’s why she became so shy,” Ms. Bastian said.

Once settled, Mrs. Ryan wound up living “down the road a bit” from the man who would become her husband, Ms. Bastian said. 

Donald Ryan’s grandfather “lived up the road” from Ann, and Donald would help his grandfather tend to his garden, Ms. Bastian said, and Ann, at 12 or 14 years old, would ride her bike past Donald’s grandfather’s home. 

“And he fell in love with her instantly — it was all history after that,” she said. 

They were married and lived briefly in Albany before moving to the Ryan family homestead in East Berne (Reidsville), where the couple raised their three children.

Ms. Bastian recalled that the Ryan family homestead was home to a wild Shetland pony, dogs, and cats. She said that her mother would always make chocolate-chip cookies for the family; her cookies also became a neighborhood favorite.

All the neighborhood kids would gather at the Ryan home for “Kool-Aid and cookies hot out of the oven,” Ms. Bastian said. 

“Ann worked briefly at Simmons Mattress in Albany, then worked for American Meter in downtown Albany. While raising her children, she worked at Key Bank in downtown Albany for a time and also worked at the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Elementary School Cafeteria,” Mrs. Ryan’s family wrote in a tribute.

Mr. Ryan died when he was just 53 years old, after the couple had been married 34 years; Mrs. Ryan never remarried. It was around the time her husband died that Mrs. Ryan began baking homemade pies, which were sold at Indian Ladder Farms, Ms. Bastian said. When it was busy, her mother was making about 100 pies a week. 

Pie plates were everywhere, Ms. Bastian recalled; “every nook and cranny — there was a pie plate in it.”

Mrs. Ryan was a one-woman assembly line.

She would get up at 2 a.m., peel the apples (she had pre-placed the pie dough), fill the pie plates, freeze the pies, and then, two to three times a week, she would fill up her car with pies, and “cart then down to Indian Ladder Farms,” where the pies would be baked. She did this for 15 years, her daughter said. 

“People would come from far and wide to buy the pies that she made!” Mrs. Ryan’s family wrote. “Ann enjoyed knitting, flower gardening and was a big fan of daytime soaps. She loved Elvis and mowing her lawn with her Snapper riding mower.”

Ms. Bastian said that her mother loved children and, when she started to have grandkids, “Oh my God, she doted on them,” Ms. Bastian said, adding that her mother was fortunate to have lived long enough to have great-grandchildren. 

Ms. Bastian also wanted to give special thanks to her mother’s personal caregivers for the past two years, Melanie, Tina, Laura, and Rosemary. And to the hospice caregivers who came in during the final two weeks: Leah, Steve, Pam, and Hattie. 


Ann M. Ryan is survived by her daughters, Patricia Ryan-Aldrich and her husband, Bob, and Victoria Bastian; by her grandchildren, Heather Crockett and her husband, Kevin, Leanne Royer and her husband, Jeremy, Mary Bastian and her husband, Giorgi “George” Gorgadze, Adam Bastian, and Erica Bastian DeGonzague and her husband, Lucas; and by eight great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Her husband, Donald E. Ryan, died before her, as did her son, Leland Ryan; her parents, Frank and Elizabeth Schaffer; her brothers, Clarence, David, Frank Jr., Arthur, Donald, and Floyd Schafffer, and her sister, Josephine Stewart-White. 

Funeral services will be private, at the convenience of the family. Interment will be at the Ryan homestead, where she will be laid to rest next to her loving husband, Donald, and her son Leland.

Memorial messages may be left at

Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Hospice Foundation, 310 South Manning Boulevard Albany, NY 12208, or to the Helderberg Lutheran Church, 1728 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023.

— Sean Mulkerrin



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